An air of giddiness hung in the hallways of Cade Middle School on Friday.

Amid the wafting smell of fresh wax, the familiar back-to-school sounds of excited chatter, giggles and greetings of old friends could be heard throughout the brand new building.

And that was just the teachers.

Friday was the first day the staff of Cade Middle School was allowed to start moving their things in, principal Lisa Blundell said. It was also the first time the staff was able to see the new school building finished.

"When I walked in, I was just overwhelmed with excitement to be in a new beautiful building. It's a once-in-a-lifetime event in Victoria," sixth-grade English teacher Ann Winkenwerder said. "I was counting down the days to get in and kept checking my e-mail to see when the principal was going to let us in."

Winkenwerder added that the new gym particularly impressed her.

"It's the crowning jewel of the school," she said.

Seventh-grade English teacher Diane Wagner was equally impressed with the overall building, especially since she has always taught in older buildings.

"It's gorgeous. I've never seen anything like this before. It's very modern," she said. "I love how open it is. It's welcoming, cozy yet still modern."

Although most of the rest of the schools in the Victoria school district are letting their staff move in on Monday, Blundell said she wanted to give her staff more time since most of them are coming in from other campuses and had their classroom supplies stored at their own homes over the summer.

"Everyone is excited to start the new year. There's been a very positive reaction from the staff to work in this building, especially with the new technology and computers in each classroom," Blundell added. "There's a lot of positive energy."

Excited as the staff is for their own sake, it's the reaction of the students they are most looking forward to.

"I can't wait for the students to see it," Winkenwerder said. "I'm very excited for the kids."